What to Do After a Fire
Board up after suffering fire damage.
Immediately after a fire is a very stressful time. With all of the fire damage and loss, it can difficult to see what to do next. The first thought on most people's minds is to repair the damage, but there are a few things that you should consider doing even before that. The very first thing you should do is call your insurance company. The second is to secure your home.
3 Steps to Follow After a Fire
Secure Your Home
Securing your home does not mean lock your doors. Remember that there could be hundreds of access points after a fire. Between the flames, smoke and the fire department, the damage can be extensive. When you secure your home, you will need to board up holes, windows and doors.
Here's why you need to tarp or board your home:
- Vacant homes are catnip to vandals and thieves
- Your insurance may require it
- Rain, wind and sun can make the damage worse
- Someone could go in and hurt themselves
You must cover all the exposed areas of your home as soon as possible.
Take an Inventory
When you are allowed back in your home, you will need to take an inventory. Take a look at what you need to throw out and what can be salvaged. Make sure you board up or tarp anything exposed to the elements while you are doing this. It is far easier to assess the damage and cover things that need to be covered simultaneously.
Find a Restoration Company
You should also find a restoration company in Colorado Springs, CO, as soon as you talk to your insurance company. Some companies will even offer emergency board up services if they have to wait to start the repairs and remediation. Some of the reasons they may have to wait are delays with insurance or fire inspectors. This service will reduce the cost of your repairs and help to keep your home safe.
Fires are devastating. Just remember to board up, take inventory and find a remediation company that can help you. These steps can help you avoid any additional damage.
How Filing an Electronic Insurance Claim Benefits Your Business
You can get your business back up and running quickly by filing your insurance claim electronically.
When a fire, flood or other disaster strikes, all you want to do is get your business back to work. Unfortunately, filing an insurance claim takes time. Some claims involve extensive paperwork and time-consuming research. Fortunately, with the advent of electronic claims submission, the process is much easier.
5 Benefits of Filing an Electronic Insurance Claim
1. It Is Faster to File
Electronic claims are generally faster to file. You can simply:
- Take photos of the damage
- Log into your insurance companies claim submission site
- Fill out the claim forms
- Upload your photos
- Submit your claim
Paper claim forms can be confusing, the digital versions usually have help files or in some cases, you can chat with a claims representative while you are filing your claim
2. It Is Submitted Directly to the Insurance Company
Claim forms can get lost. They go straight to the insurance company with direct electronic filing without the postal service being in the middle. Your insurance claim cannot get lost in the mail when you file electronically.
3. It Can Be Filled Out and Submitted for You
Many insurance companies recommend having a restoration company, like SERVPRO in Colorado Springs, CO, submit the claim for you. The cleanup technicians can take pictures, document damage and write down relevant expenses while doing the remediation. It is that simple.
4. It Can Be Accessed From Anywhere
Your claim information is easily accessible from just about anywhere in the world. You can check on it where ever there is an internet connection. It can also be sent anywhere, and your claim documents are already digitized, so if you have to send them elsewhere, you can do it with just a click of a button.
5. It Can Get You a Quick Response
When you use a digital method of filing, the insurance agent is not necessarily involved. The insurance company and adjusters get it directly. You do not have to bring paperwork or file your claim through an agent or agency.
By filing your insurance claim electronically, you can get your business back up and running quickly. These are just a few of the many benefits of electronic filing.
Beyond the First Steps of Responding To Burst Pipes
Bursting pipes can cause your business to face days or weeks closed.
Taking the right steps when you discover bursting pipes in your business can limit the expense and effort necessary to restore your property. This is particularly important when you're facing days or weeks of your Colorado Springs, CO, business being closed. You may already be familiar with the very first steps to take:
- Shut off water to the flooded area.
- Turn off the electricity.
- Mop up as much water as possible.
- Provide plenty of ventilation.
These steps are critical to preventing damage, but there are further steps you should consider preparing to turn work over to water damage Colorado Springs professionals.
4 Further Steps To Respond To Bursting Pipes
1. Locate the Broken Pipe
There may be water still draining from the pipes, but more importantly, you need to know where to fix broken pipe elements. Even a minor crack could lead to a lot of damage, and you may have the skills necessary to prevent further breaks.
Remove Items From the Flooded Area
If it's safe to walk into the flooded room, carry out furnishings, equipment, and other valuable items. You may possibly prevent papers, inventory, and belongings from getting damaged.
2. Record Damages
Carefully make a record of the damage. Use photographs and write down values of damaged items to be sure your insurance claim is accurate.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
There's a good chance that the damage will be covered by the business' insurance policy. The first step in getting your claim moving is contacting your agent. It may be important that an insurance adjuster goes through the building before cleanup and repair professionals get started.
4. Understand the Risk of Mold Growth
Mold growth is a common occurrence after bursting pipes. This is because moisture gets under carpeting and inside the walls. When you hire cleanup technicians to handle repairs, there's a better chance that you'll avoid secondary damage. Be sure you know what to watch out for.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do after managing existing damage is taking steps to prevent bursting pipes in the future. Discuss potential improvements with your custodial staff or local experts.
Does Your Insurance Cover Flooding and Water Damage?
Flooding can cause severe water damage.
Will your homeowners' insurance cover the flood damage that occurs because of a broken pipe? The answer to this question depends on several factors. One of the most important things you need to know is that the damage is probably covered if the damage was the result of a sudden or unforeseen happening:
- Leaking air conditioner
- Malfunctioning clothes washing machine
- Broken pipes because of freezing temperatures
It's important to understand that your policy may not cover all of these specific situations. Your best source of accurate information is the insurance coverage provider.
Understand Insurance Exclusions
In most situations, if the damage is the result of gradual changes or the lack of proper maintenance, you'll probably have to pay for the repairs. Some examples of policy exclusions include a leaking pipe that you ignored, mold damage from an ice dam on a clogged roof gutter, and high levels of humidity in the bathroom. Again, coverage and exclusions vary from one insurance provider to another.
Don't Ignore Signs of Trouble
Most of the time, insurance companies expect homeowners to care for the plumbing system, taking steps to make sure pipes don't freeze, connections are kept tight, and that signs of damage, such as cracks and mold, are addressed right away. Slow-developing damage is often the result when homeowners don't address these issues, and this type of flood damage often isn't covered.
Keep Up With Maintenance
The best way to avoid the costs of hiring flooding and water damage cleanup crews is to regularly maintain the pipes and plumbing systems in your home. At the first sign of trouble, take steps to correct leaks, clogs, and mold. It's also helpful to contact your agent to learn more about the water damage risks in Colorado Springs, CO. You could also ask for advice on reducing the risk of a broken pipe and other sources of flood damage.
Is Mold Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Prevent mold damage
Your homeowners insurance covers a variety of disasters big and small, but fungus growth probably isn’t one of them. Instead, your best form of mold insurance is often mold prevention.
Types of Mold That May Be Covered
In order to enjoy mold coverage from your insurer, your policy needs to extend to the source of the mold. Sources of mold that are often covered by homeowners insurance policies include the following:
- Water damage from a faulty hot water heater
- Water damage from a broken household appliance
- Water damage from firefighters’ hoses
- Water damage resulting from a natural disaster, such as an ice storm, tsunami or hurricane
Mold that directly results from these forms of water damage is typically covered by a policy that covers these catastrophes themselves — at least in part. It’s worth remembering that your policy may have a mold cap.
Types of Mold That Likely Aren’t Covered
One of the biggest contributors to fungus growth in Colorado Springs, CO, isn’t covered by homeowners insurance: floodwater. Instead, storm surges and other types of flooding that can cause mold-producing water damage are usually covered by separate flood insurance. If you have this additional coverage, mold that results from flooding may be covered.
If you don’t have flood insurance and are interested in adding it to your existing policy, know that its average cost per year is $750, but it may be substantially higher if you live in an area prone to flooding.
Mold that occurs due to negligence on your part is very rarely covered by insurance. If the insurance company can show that you should’ve fixed that leaky pipe and never got around to it, don’t expect reimbursement once you need to call in the help of a mold removal company.
Ultimately, whether or not fungus growth in your home is covered by your insurance comes down to whether or not the direct source of that mold is covered. Read your policy carefully and discuss it with your agent to make sure you have the optimal coverage for you.
3 Steps of Roof Restoration
Roof damage in Colorado Springs, CO.
When a storm blows in to Colorado Springs, CO, overnight, you may dread discovering the damage that was done to your commercial building the next day. Even if most of your building is spared, it's important to check for a roof leak. During heavy storms, particularly those that contain rain or hail, your roof bears the brunt of the onslaught. Fortunately, water restoration specialists can repair the damage and restore your roof in three basic steps.
3 Basic Steps to Repair and Restore Your Roof
The first thing experts do is examine the damage. Whether you have missing shingles or just broken or cracked ones, either problem can allow water to seep into your building's interior. As a result, several items may need to be torn out:
- Roof support beams
- Ceiling tiles
Removing water damage is vital. Taking care of this step quickly can help you avoid secondary problems such as mold growth. The sooner you call the technicians, the smoother the cleanup process will go.
Flood water, particularly that which has run into your building through a roof leak, is considered contaminated water. It can contain dirt, debris and bacteria. It is necessary, therefore, to not only dry out the affected area but also to disinfect it so that microscopic organisms in the water don't lead to further rot or bad air quality in your building. Technicians may use special machinery and industrial cleaners to sanitize the space.
Once all traces of damage and filth are gone, the restoration stage can begin. Specialists rebuild the interior portions that were destroyed, replacing walls, ceilings and insulation. Then they repair the damaged roof so that it can get back to protecting your building.
Even a small roof leak can cause serious damage to your commercial building. A professional team that has the knowledge and experience to handle the cleanup process from removal to restoration is essential for getting your roof back to normal.
Quick Guide for Flood First Responders
First responders take every precaution to help and save lifes.
As a first responder to natural disasters, like flooding, you put your life on the line every day. Because of the increased risk to your health, you must take every precaution when performing your duties. Flooding disasters pose several potential threats to first responders.
Floods are an especially tricky disaster because most of the threats emergency responders face lay under the surface. While communicating with emergency services or a flood restoration service in Colorado Springs, CO, can offer valuable insight into the common dangers, the following information and safety tips can help.
Information About Flood First Responders
Every first responder is must have several immunizations before working in the field. The CDC requires that people working in flooded regions have the tetanus vaccine. If you have not had a booster in over ten years, you will need to get one before starting work.
It is also common for flood response teams to require members to have the Hepatitis B vaccine. The purpose of the vaccine is that workers may come into contact with bodily fluids during an assignment.
While other vaccines exist for other diseases, there is no need for immunizations when working in the continental US. However, if you want more information, you can speak with your primary care physician.
When it comes to flood response safety, the general rule is to tread lightly. While wearing personal protective equipment is a no-brainer, you need to approach areas cautiously, especially the interior of homes or buildings. Electricity may appear out, but the current can still flow through water currents. Stepping into an active area can have dire consequences.
Beyond the concern of electricity, step carefully to avoid any hidden object or changes in depth. Flood currents are strong, and losing your footing is often detrimental.
While your job as a first responder is to help and save lives, remember to keep yourself safe also. If you would like more information on flood safety, contact a floor restoration service.
Frequently Lost Items During a Fire
A fire in your home may not result in a total loss.
A fire in your home in Colorado Springs, CO, may not result in a total loss. Fire restoration specialists may be able to save a lot of the items in your home, but there are some things you will have to throw away. Having a prepared list of items that are frequently lost in a fire can serve as a starting checklist for belongings that need to be replaced.
List Of Items That Are Frequently Lost During a Fire
The good thing about replacing important documents is that you can find almost all of them online. You likely have digital copies of your income tax records, insurance information and legal documents. However, you need to have hard copies of certain documents:
- Drivers license
- Titles and deeds
- Social security cards
- Health insurance cards
If these items are listed as part of the fire damage to your home, start the process of replacing them right away.
You will likely need to throw away all food if the fire was anywhere near your kitchen. The refrigerator and freezer may keep food fresh under normal circumstances, but it is unlikely that they were able to withstand the fire's blaze well enough to protect the food inside during a fire. Non-perishable items must be tossed as well. Plastic and cardboard are no match for smoke and soot. Even the food in glass jars and aluminum cans can be spoiled by the high heat of a house fire. It is better to get rid of food altogether than take chances that it has gone bad.
Just as you would not want to consume anything that the fire or extinguishing agents have touched, you also don't want to put anything from the fire on your body. This includes cosmetics, soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and hair styling products. It's also necessary to throw away any medication that could have been subject to high temperatures or toxic fumes.
Many items in your home can be salvaged after a fire, but some must be replaced. Mitigation professionals can help you determine what to throw away and what to keep.
The Top 3 Things You Should Know About Category 2 Water Damage
Avoid exposure to Category 2 water damage
Before water pipe repair can begin, you need to know what kind of water you’re dealing with. Category 2 water damage is essentially the “Goldilocks” of water damage. It isn’t as highly contaminated as Category 3 water, but it isn’t clean like Category 1 water, either. Here are the top three things you need to know about Category 2 water.
3 Facts About Category 2 Water Damage
1. It Can Make You Sick
Category 2 water contains a moderate amount of biological, chemical and/or physical contaminants. In short, enough toxins are present that consuming this type of water is likely to make you feel ill and exposure to it could cause significant skin irritation. It’s often referred to as “gray water” due to this mid-range level of contamination.
2. It’s Found in a Variety of Places
There are probably several sources of Category 2 water on your Colorado Springs, CO, commercial property. Category 2 water comes from places such as:
- Toilets (without solid waste)
- Sump pumps
- Washing machines
If you experience unwanted water from any of these sources, you should refrain from beginning any water pipe repair or water removal and instead vacate the area.
3. It Should Be Cleaned Up by Professionals
Because of the potential for illness, if a broken pipe or seepage causes an area of your property to become flooded with Category 2 water, it’s best to call your local water damage restoration company. Professionals have the experience, training and equipment to safely remove the contaminated water and sanitize your commercial space. They also frequently perform repairs and other restoration efforts as you work toward returning to business as usual.
Before you break out the shop vac or start searching for water pipe repair videos online, assess the water involved. If you suspect that it’s Category 2 water, enlist the help of a trusted water damage mitigation service for a safe, quick resolution.
How To Protect Your Pipes During Cold Weather
A burst pipe leads to water damage
A slow leak in a pipe in your home in Colorado Springs, CO, may go undetected for a while, but there's no mistaking the sudden and extensive damage a pipe that has frozen can cause. Here are some pipe freeze prevention tips to help keep your home safe from water damage during the winter.
3 Tips To Avoid Freezing Pipes and Water Damage
The best way to avoid extensive water damage from frozen pipes is to prevent the issue from happening in the first place. There are a few places in your home where your pipes are the most vulnerable to freezing:
- Right inside exterior walls
- Connected to exterior faucets
- Inside closed cabinets
- In unheated areas such as attics and crawl spaces
There are several things you can do to prevent pipes from freezing. Insulate your pipes, particularly the ones that are near exterior walls or in spaces cut off from the central heating in your living spaces. You can apply electrical heating tape to pipes as well. Be sure to keep your heater on, even when you are not at home, if temperatures outside are below freezing. During the coldest parts of the day, it's a good idea to open your cabinet doors or allow your water faucets to drip for reliable pipe freeze prevention.
If you can catch a frozen pipe before it bursts, you may be able to save the pipe and the area around it from damage. A telltale sign that you have a frozen pipe is a significantly smaller flow when you turn on a faucet. Turn the faucet off, locate the pipe and slowly warm it up, allowing the ice inside to melt. The faucet should then flow normally again.
A burst pipe leads to water damage that can only be properly repaired by water mitigation experts. The technicians must tear out all ruined materials and rebuild the area affected by the flooding. If your insurance doesn't cover the cost, you may be looking at a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.
These pipe freeze prevention tips can protect your home from water damage. Make pipe protection part of your regular winter maintenance plan.